How to Break In a Baseball Glove

If you are a baseball or softball player, a high-quality glove or mitt can have a huge impact on your performance, making it one of the best investments you can make. A glove that feels comfortable and fits perfectly gives you the confidence you need to perform better on the field.

However, when you buy a new baseball glove, you may find it to be a little stiff, especially if it is a high-quality leather one. If it is your first high-quality glove, you may be wondering how to break in a baseball glove.

Don’t worry. You’re not alone.

Plenty of first-time buyers and even some veteran buyers ask the same question. Today, we will explain exactly how you can break in your baseball glove the right way.

But first…

Why Break In Your Baseball Glove?

Most high-quality baseball gloves are made from leather because they are reliable, durable, and versatile. However, if you have ever purchased a brand new leather product, you will know that it is very stiff and rigid before using and breaking it in.

Leather baseball mitts are no different, and you will notice this when you first try to catch a ball with your brand-new leather glove. The fresh, stiff leather makes it difficult to clasp your hand and grasp the ball.

This is not an issue with gloves made with synthetic materials because they are designed to be softened from the start and ready to play ball. However, leather gloves are far superior to synthetic ones, so it is worth the time and effort to break them in the right way.

How to Break In a Baseball Glove

Breaking in a brand new leather glove may take anywhere between a few days to a few weeks, depending on the grade of the leather used in the making. The process is well worth the wait because, ultimately, you break in the glove to fit your hand perfectly and make it an extension of your arm.

The leather will stretch and mold according to your hand and its movements, giving you a custom fit that works exclusively for you and feels completely natural. This is why most professional players have a strict rule to not let anyone else wear their gloves.

The nature of leather means that the best and simplest way to break your baseball glove is to use it. Play catch with it as much as you can. Over time, it will break in naturally with a pocket and fit that is custom to your hand and catching style.

Of course, there are plenty of ways to speed up the process and soften your glove, but none will give you the same high-quality results as natural breaking. Most importantly, many of the most common methods are harmful to the leather, its quality, and its durability.

However, not everyone has the time to spend weeks breaking in a new glove through the natural process. Following is the best, most accurate alternative method available of breaking in your baseball glove quickly, without significantly damaging the leather or its durability.

What You’ll Need:

  • A mug or cup (not plastic)
  • A glove mallet (ball-shaped)
  • Some hot water (do not use boiling water)

The use of water makes it easier to work with leather. However, if you do not follow the steps correctly and apply the water as mentioned, you may end up drying the leather. This can make it brittle and damage the leather.

● Step 1 – Identify the Crease/ Bend


Put your glove on, and place the ball part of the glove mallet in the pocket or palm of the glove. Next, grip the mallet and visually mark the area at the bottom of your thumb where the glove creases or bends to grip the ball-shaped mallet (you can always use a normal ball instead of the mallet for this part).

● Step 2 – Prepare the Water

Heat some water to around 135-degrees Fahrenheit or 57-degrees Celsius and fill up your mug or cup.

● Step 3 – Pour the Water

Use the cup to gently pour the hot water over your glove to loosen up the leather. This will help make the leather softer and the glove more malleable. However, you must never soak your glove in hot water, as it can easily lead to severe drying and damage.

● Step 4 – Apply Pressure

Once your baseball glove is a little wet, you need to start putting maximum pressure on the area you identified earlier. This is the area where the glove bends and closes when you grip to catch a ball, which is why it needs to become more flexible to break in a baseball glove. It is best to do this on a soft surface like a carpet or cushion to avoid damaging the glove while applying pressure.

● Step 5 – Use the Glove Mallet

You can use the ball-shaped mallet to hammer down the palm or pocket, as this will help loosen the leather in the right places and crease it correctly. However, the best way to do this is to wear the glove and then use the mallet to shape it.

This will ensure that the thumb, crease, pocket, and outer area of the glove, all loosen and bend to the shape of your hand, giving you a perfect custom fit. It is ideal for making the most of a wet, warm glove. Continue this step for as long as possible. Still, do not repeat the process unless necessary.

Our Final Thoughts

The mentioned method to quickly break in your glove is the safest method currently available. It can help speed up weeks of the natural process without damaging your glove too much. Of course, if possible, you should always take the natural route.

It will give you the best results and also ensure that your glove lasts a long time. Most importantly, however, you must never use alternative methods like glove steaming, mattress wrapping, baking, or microwaving.

These harsh methods can easily damage the leather and will never give true custom-fit results. They may also turn your durable, high-quality leather glove into a flat, floppy, or brittle mitt that won’t last you a season.

When someone tells you that these harsh methods are how to break in a baseball glove, you can be sure that they do not fully understand what they are talking about. When a glove is broken in the right way and fits you perfectly, you won’t even need to put much effort into grasping the ball, as the glove will naturally close itself when the ball hits the pocket.

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